someone wants to steal my name

2004, CSU Poetry


an excerpt from Someone Wants to Steal My Name

What has been missing from my life until now is simplicity. I am beginning to change, little by little.

For example, now I always go out with my bed, and when a woman pleases me, I take her to bed immediately.

If her ears are ugly or large, or her nose, I take them off with her clothes and put them under the bed. I keep only what I like.

If her underthings could use a change, I change them right away. That is my gift. If, on the other hand, I see a more beautiful woman passing by, I excuse myself to the first and make her disappear at once.

Some who know me suggest that I am incapable of doing just what I said, that I haven’t the temperament. I once believed so myself, but that was because I wasn’t doing everything exactly as I please.

Now all my afternoons are good. (Mornings, I work.)

From Someone Wants to Steal My Name, edited by Nin Andrews, published by Cleveland State University Press,

Translated by Nin Andrews


he Belgian poet Henri Michaux ( 1899-1984) lived most of his life in Paris and is well-known in Europe for his prolific writings and his artwork.  Michaux won the Einaudi Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1960 and the Grand Prix National des Lettres in 1965 for his painting and his works of literature, but he refused to accept the latter prize because he didn’t want to be recognized in public.  In both art and literature, he was known for his eccentricity and his enigmatic style, and his work has been greatly admired by American poets as diverse as John Ashbery, Russell Edson and Alan Ginsberg.